Why are children more susceptible to sunburns?

Sunburn has long been considered a normal part of summer, but it isn’t as harmless as many people think. Children are particularly susceptible to suffering the painful effects of sunburn, along with its potential long-term consequences. Since children won’t take the initiative to get out of the sun by themselves, it’s up to their parents to know how much sun exposure is too much. For all of your childhood health questions, you can count on the pediatric experts at Sunrise Children’s Hospital.

Why kids are more vulnerable to sun exposure
Children can suffer damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays more quickly than adults do because a child’s skin is thinner and more sensitive. Adding to the risk is the fact that children tend to spend more time outdoors than adults. According to the World Health Organization , as much as 80 percent of the average person’s lifetime sun exposure is accrued before the 18 th birthday.

Furthermore, unprotected sun exposure and sunburn during childhood raises the risk of potentially deadly melanoma later in life.

How to help sunburned kids recover
Mild sunburn can cause slightly reddened, warm and painful skin. Taking a bath in cool water and staying hydrated can help kids feel more comfortable while they heal.

Kids who show signs of severe sunburn may require emergency care. These signs include:

  • Fever
  • Blisters
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Malaise

How to prevent sunburn in children
Parents of newborns should keep their baby in the shade at all times until at least the first birthday. Once children are old enough to play outdoors, they should wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

Although sunscreen is very effective, it shouldn’t be considered a reason to prolong sun exposure. Staying out of the sun and limiting sun exposure are still the best ways to protect children from the harmful effects of UV rays.

When your child is feeling under the weather, the board-certified pediatrics team at Sunrise Children’s Hospital can help. Our children’s hospital in Las Vegas is the top destination for families seeking superior emergency care for their children. Call a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437 to ask general questions of a non-emergency nature.

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